Today NSN and many others mourn the loss of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and a founding member of our advisory board. We remember and honor his passion for diplomacy in all its forms, from dangerous work on the ground to painstaking backroom negotiation to mentorship of younger diplomats and leaders.
This week, as Washington considers his legacy and how to carry forward the paramount political and diplomatic work in Afghanistan and Pakistan, we have an opportunity to make the structural improvements that can bring forth another generation of Holbrookes and remake our civilian policy tools for the 21st century. The planned release this week of the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), twin to the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review, is a chance to recommit to strengthening and using all elements of national power: a strong economy, effective development assistance, pragmatic diplomacy, a powerful military and a resilient society.
Fewer than 50 days into his Presidency, Barack Obama has begun to set a different framework for how America deals with the Middle East. There is no question that today America’s choices and flexibility in the region are far greater than they were only 50 days ago.
One month into his tenure, President Obama has demonstrated that he will transform several hallmarks of his campaign into a coherent approach to the world. A clear message has been sent, and received enthusiastically, from tv viewers in the Arab world to citizens on the streets of Ottawa. Ultimately, they will be judged less on these early diplomatic actions than on their ability to produce results
The situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region continues to deteriorate, with news in the last week of more attacks on American and NATO supply routes from Pakistan and the Kyrgyz government’s decision to close a key American air base. It is critical that we have a clear strategy for Afghanistan that includes measureable and realistic objectives, and President Obama’s decision to delay the announcement of additional troops into Afghanistan until we have a focused strategy is the right approach.